D’Angelo Russell’s time as a member of the Golden State Warriors came to an end on Thursday afternoon prior to the NBA trade deadline. In a move that had been rumored and, in the days leading up to the deadline, believed to have been dead, Russell was sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of a package of players that returned the Dubs a pair of picks, including a top-3 protected 2021 selection, and Andrew Wiggins.
The rumblings that Golden State acquired Russell over the summer just to trade him have been around for months, and started popping up almost immediately after he came over from the Brooklyn Nets. During a media session on Friday afternoon, Warriors coach Steve Kerr was pretty blunt about the whole thing, saying that Russell was a bit repetitive alongside players like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
Steve Kerr on D’Angelo Russell: “To be blunt, the fit was questionable when we signed him (from a positional standpoint).” Full quote. pic.twitter.com/eKs89GSLQr
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 7, 2020
“To be perfectly blunt, the fit was questionable when we signed him,” Kerr said. “Nobody questioned that. When you already have Steph and Klay, and you add a ball-dominant guard, you can rightfully question the fit. That’s one of the reasons trade rumors started even before the season began, and I think D’Angelo understood that when he signed the contract and our organization understood that as well.
Kerr went onto say that despite Curry’s injury, the team was given a 50-game sample into how Russell fit into their system, and that based off of that, bringing a guy like Wiggins on board “makes more sense.” He doesn’t just believe that to be the case for the Warriors, as Kerr thinks Russell makes sense as a member of the Timberwolves.
“I’m happy for D’Angelo, I think he’s gonna have a great situation in Minneapolis,” Kerr said.
As Kerr said, the fit was a bit weird from the start if only because of how he seemed redundant alongside Thompson and, especially, Curry. One could argue that with how things have gone for the Dubs this season, they could have waited for Curry to come back and given Russell a month or so (based on projections of when Curry will return from surgery) alongside of the two-time league MVP. Having said that, while Minnesota did seem like it really wanted to acquire Russell for some time, offers don’t stay on the table forever, and the Warriors felt like this was the one that was worth moving their now-former guard.